Friday, July 29, 2016

Wrestling: Streaks stun 'Liners for 1st Pin Cancer win

WASHINGTON TWP. -- Taylan Zafis can attest that there is no substitute for experience.

The rising senior has come a long way on the mats and it was Zafis' thrilling 3-2 win at 285 pounds that sealed Washington's 28-24 victory over Phillipsburg on Thursday night -- snapping the Stateliners' four-match win streak in the fifth annual Pin Cancer clash.

The annual match had to be moved indoors for the first time due to rain. Some 800 people crammed into a very hot auxiliary gym at Warren Hills Regional High School to witness perhaps the best dual yet in the summer series.

"Anytime there's wrestling in the area people will show up for it," Washington (Warren Hills) coach Jarrett Hosbach said. "This was an exciting dual match. The crowd was into it pretty good. It's great to get that kind of atmosphere in July."

Zafis, a fourth-place finisher in District 1 last season, went from a heavy underdog a year ago -- facing state qualifier Kyle Nothnagel -- to being a favorite this year against Justen Caraballo, who owns a 1-1 career mark in high school.

"I love the sport," said Zafis, who showed marked improvement this past high school season, going from 1-18 as a sophomore to 16-16 as a junior. "I think the biggest thing that helped me win that match was confidence. I've done a lot of conditioning and lifting weights. Phillipsburg is a very good team and I respect that."

After trading escapes in the second and third periods, Caraballo spun behind Zafis for the near go-ahead takedown at the edge with about 40 seconds left. But Zafis was able to stay in a standing position and eventually got behind Caraballo for the decisive takedown with 25 seconds to go. Zafis opted to cut Caraballo with nine seconds left as they finished on their feet.

"My goal was to try and keep him down and then at 8 seconds, cut him so he barely had any time left [to try and get a takedown]," said Zafis, whose takedown made it a 12-12 draw overall between the teams from the neutral position. Washington finished with a 16-12 edge in takedowns last year for the first time in the series.

"That was a nice win for him," said Hosbach, whose team will travel to Phillipsburg on Wednesday, Jan. 18 for their Skyland Conference dual meet. "We're hoping these wins in July equal wins in January and February."

After Phillipsburg jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Cullen Day's pin at 105, Washington ran off seven straight wins, capped by Zach Nauta's 5-1 decision over Jayson Zinsmeister at 147. Logan Nauta scored a huge 8-7 win over Travis Jones at 112 -- getting a reversal with 11 seconds left -- in perhaps the most entertaining bout of the night.

Pedro Cruz and Cameron Nauta also scored key decisions at 135 and 140, respectively, as the Nauta brothers went 3-for-3.

Down 25-6 after Zach Nauta's win, Phillipsburg rallied with five straight victories to make it 25-24 with only 285 to go. Brian Meyer, a Region 1 champion, started the run with a pin at 155, followed by decisions from Shamyr Brodders (167), Austin Roth (177), Drew Horun (190) and state runner-up Robert Melise (220).

Brodders, who scored an 11-4 win over Kyle Henderson, is a wrestler to watch come next high school season. Phillipsburg coach Dave Post has been impressed with the rising junior, who has never wrestled a varsity bout.

"He works his tail off and is a student of the game," Post said. "We're working with a clean slate, so we don't have to fix a lot of mistakes."

Both teams were not at full strength for this one. Washington was missing talented junior Jarod Ostir (offseason elbow surgery) and Codey O'Rourke, while Phillipsburg was without Dan Fisher, a Region 1 qualifier, and Jason Barna.

"Our guys really want to win and [Washington] does too," Post said. "When you have two heavyweights out there, it can go either way. I made it clear to Justen that even though he was the last guy out there, he didn't put us in that situation. I thought we looked really good in spots and we have some spots where we need to work on."

Post praised Hosbach and the Warren Hills staff for pulling this event together with the poor weather conditions. Things were shifted about two hours before the grade school match was scheduled to take place and included having to remove the mat from the football field across the street and putting it down in the auxiliary gym.

"These people were unbelievable," Post said. "All week long we kept checking the weather. Kudos to the administration and the AD [Geri McKelvey], and the parents to be able to manage this. The whole Warren Hills community understands what this means to our wrestling teams."


105 -- Cullen Day, P, p. Greg Slivka, :57.
112 -- Logan Nauta, W, d. Travis Jones, 8-7.
119 -- Kyle Wulff, W, p. Tyris Manley, 4:23.
125 -- Cody Harrison, W, md. Brenden Fox, 10-0.
130 -- Matt Valli, W, d. Kyle Tino, 9-4.
135 -- Pedro Cruz, W, d. Ryan Mitzak, 2-1.
140 -- Cameron Nauta, W, d. Lance Wissing, 4-3.
147 -- Zach Nauta, W, d. Jayson Zinsmeister, 5-1.
155 -- Brian Meyer, P, p. Rashon Wade Taylor, 2:22.
167 -- Shamyr Brodders, P, d. Kyle Henderson, 11-4.
177 -- Austin Roth, P, d. Ryan Beckler, 4-1.
190 -- Drew Horun, P, d. Nick Galka, 4-2.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, d. Brody Oberly, 5-1.
285 -- Taylan Zafis, P, d. Justen Caraballo, 3-2.
Officials -- Chip Castner and Frank Leitner.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wrestling: Sneak peek at one realignment proposal?

With the next step toward potental region realignment set for a vote on Wednesday, here is one of the proposals submitted to the NJSIAA wrestling committee a few months ago. This is not confirmed to be one of the two set to be reviewed and voted on, and is based solely on northing numbers and longitude.

The proposal below was crafted by Britt Malinsky, a contributor to Intermat wrestling web site, and submitted to the NJSIAA. The committee is also said to be considering another proposal that would be less of a dramatic shift statewide and would factor in the average of a school's power point totals for the past five seasons in addition to northing numbers.

Watchung Hills coach and New Jersey Coaches Association president Dan Smith said when reached on Saturday that even if one of the new proposals passes, it would still have to make its way through several other committees before becoming official.

The proposal below is odd in that it does not take into a account some of the perceived inequities with the current region alignment -- namely Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep still being housed in Region 2 and what would clearly be a competitive in-balance in the new Region 3, which would feature state powers Hanover Park, Bound Brook, Phillipsburg, Delbarton and South Plainfield, along with all of the Hunterdon County schools minus Hunterdon Central. The Red Devils would remain in Region 5 under this one.

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex teams in bold below:

Region 1

D1 -- High Point, Jefferson, Kittatinny, Newton, North Warren, Pope John, Sparta, Vernon, Wallkill Valley, West Milford

D2 -- Butler, DePaul, Indian Hills, Kinnelon, Lakeland, Manchester Regional, Pequannock, Pompton Lakes, Ramapo, Wayne Hills 

D3 -- Boonton, Cedar Grove, JFK-Paterson, Montville, Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Passaic Tech, Passaic Valley, Wayne Valley, West Essex 

D4 -- Dover, Hopatcong, Lenape Valley, Morris Catholic, Morris Hills, Morris Knolls, Mount Olive, Parsippany Hills, Roxbury

Region 2

D5 -- Don Bosco Prep, Glen Rock, Hawthorne, Mahwah, Northern Highlands, Paramus Catholic, Ramsey, Ridgewood, St. Joseph- Montvale, Waldwick/Midland Park 

D6 -- Bergen Catholic, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, Emerson, New Milford, Old Tappan, Pascack Hills, Pascack Valley, Westwood 

D7 -- Clifton, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Garfield, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Lodi, Paramus, Passaic, Saddle Brook 

D8 -- Bergenfield, Bogota, Dwight Morrow, Fort Lee, Leonia, Ridgefield Park, River Dell, Teaneck, Tenafly

Region 3

D9 -- Belvidere, Bernards, Delbarton, Hackettstown, Mendham, Phillipsburg, Randolph, Ridge, Warren Hills, West Morris 

D10 -- Chatham, Hanover Park, Livingston, Madison, Millburn, Morristown, New Providence, Newark Academy, Summit, Whippany Park 

D11 -- Bound Brook, Bridgewater-Raritan, Delaware Valley, North Hunterdon, North Plainfield, Pingry, Plainfield, Somerville, Voorhees, Watchung Hills 

D12 -- Bishop Ahr, Colonia, Cranford, Governor Livingston, Johnson, J.P. Stevens, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, South Plainfield, Westfield

Region 4

D13 -- Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Glen Ridge, Kearny, Montclair, Nutley, Seton Hall Prep, Verona, West Orange 

D14 -- Becton/Wallington, Cliffside Park, Lyndhurst, North Bergen, Queen of Peace, Rutherford, Secaucus, St. Mary's, Union City, Wood-Ridge 

D15 -- Brearley/Dayton, Carteret, Columbia, Irvington, JFK-Iselin, Linden, Orange, Rahway, Roselle Park, Union 

D16 -- Barringer, Bayonne, Christ the King, East Orange, East Side, Elizabeth, Shabazz, St. Peter's Prep, Weequahic

Region 5

D17 -- Franklin, Hillsborough, Hopewell Valley, Hunterdon Central, Manville, Montgomery, Princeton, Rutgers Prep, South Brunswick, West Windsor North 

D18 -- East Brunswick, Edison, Highland Park, Metuchen, Middlesex, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Piscataway, South River, Spotswood 

D19 -- Burlington City, Burlington Township, Ewing, Hamilton West, Holy Cross, Lawrence, Notre Dame, Nottingham, Riverside, Trenton Central 

D20 -- Allentown, Bordentown, Hightstown, Monroe, New Egypt, Northern Burlington, Robbinsville, Steinert, West Windsor South

Region 6

D21 -- Academy of Urban Leadership, Holmdel, Keyport/Henry Hudson, Marlboro, Matawan, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, St. John Vianney, Woodbridge 

D22 -- Christian Brothers, Keansburg, Long Branch, Middletown North, Middletown South, Monmouth Regional, Raritan, Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven 

D23 -- Brick Memorial, Brick Township, Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Jackson Liberty, Jackson Memorial, Lakewood, Manalapan 

D24 -- Asbury Park, Manasquan, Neptune, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant Beach, Point Pleasant Borough, Shore Regional, St. Rose, Wall Township

Region 7

D25 -- Audubon, Bishop Eustace, Camden, Collingswood, Gloucester Catholic, Gloucester City, Paul VI-Haddonfield, Paulsboro, Triton, West Deptford 

D26 -- Camden Catholic, Cherry Hill West, Cinnaminson, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Maple Shade, Palmyra, Pennsauken, Sterling 

D27 -- Clearview, Cumberland, Gateway/Woodbury, Kingsway, Penns Grove, Pennsville, Pitman, Salem, Schalick, Woodstown 

D28 -- Clayton, Delsea, Deptford, Highland, Lindenwold, Millville, Timber Creek, Washington Township, Williamstown

Region 8

D29 -- Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Delran, Eastern, Lenape, Moorestown, Rancocas Valley, Shawnee, Westampton Tech, Willingboro 
D30 -- Barnegat, Central Regional, Donovan Catholic, Lacey, Manchester Township, Pemberton, Seneca, Toms River East, Toms River North, Toms River South 
D31 -- Buena, Hammonton, Lower Cape May, Middle Township, Oakcrest, Overbrook, St. Joseph's-Hammonton, St. Augustine, Vineland, Winslow Township
D32 -- Absegami, Atlantic City, Cedar Creek, Egg Harbor, Holy Spirit, Mainland, Ocean City, Pinelands, Southern

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wrestling: New region realignment set for vote

It amazingly is a mystery to many in the high school wrestling community as to what the new proposal will fully look like, but the NJSIAA wrestling committee is set to vote on Wednesday in the next step to bringing what several sources say could be radical changes statewide to the current district and region landscape.

The proposed realignment will begin with the regions. Once the eight regions are in place, the 32 districts will be formed. Attempts to acquire copies of what seem to be two new -- one containing very dramatic changes -- realignment proposals were unsuccessful.

Watchung Hills coach and New Jersey Coaches Association president Dan Smith said that even if one of the new proposals passes, it would still have to make its way through several other committees before becoming official. Smith did say there is a push to implement this for the 2016-17 season.

"Only because if the Region 9 (all Non-Public schools together) proposal had not been shot down, we'd be realigning anyway," Smith said.

In previous months, the topic of realignment picked up steam. Initially, there were multiple proposals being reviewed before being whittled down to just two. Smith said the committee has been tasked with looking at what's best for the entire state, not just one or two regions.

"I can tell you, the proposal I am voting on will be the most balanced and fair of any structure for district and region realignment," he said. "There are some very dramatic and some with little change. The pros and cons have been discussed."

According to sources, the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area could be greatly impacted as will most of the north and central parts of the state. Phillipsburg, which has been a part of several reconstructs to Region 1 over the years, could be on the move. Stateliners coach Dave Post said he spoke with Smith at the Hunterdon Duals in June about realignment. Post also said he petitioned unsuccessfully in the past to move to Region 5, strictly from a geographic standpoint. Wallkill Valley, which hosts Region 1, is over an hour ride from P'burg, where Region 5 host Hunterdon Central is merely 20-25 minutes.

"The hotel rooms [in Sussex County] are a big expense," said Post, whose team stays overnight on Friday for Region 1. "That's $3,000 each year which uses all of our budget. Our club pays for our rooms in Atlantic City [for the state tournament]. Saving money for regions would ease the burden."

When potential realignment first gained serious traction a year ago, Raritan coach Rob Nucci, one of the proponents, said the goal at that time was to give each district and region an equal number of teams and do so with as little movement as possible, while also taking into account geography and traditional rivalries. However, it appears at least one of the new proposals is simply geared at eliminating any of the politics.

The inequity in number of teams per region (Region 1 has 34 schools and Region 6 has 44 for example) was the initial and main reason given for necessitating change. But Post is among those who feel that focusing strictly on the number of schools is an unfair way to go about it. Regions 1-4 combined for 63 individual state medals, while Regions 5-8 had 49 this past season. Region 2 led the way with 21, while Regions 1 and 5 were next with 17. Only Region 3 with 11 and Region 7 with eight had fewer than Regions 6 and 8, which each had 12. Region 4 had 14 and Region 3 had 11 placewinners.

"I'm not opposed to moving. I'm not for it or against it. But they're not taking into account quality," Post said. "Look at the number of state placewinners [from this past season] in the north as opposed to the south. It's not even close. Just balancing the numbers [in each region] isn't fair."

In addition, the continuing divide and animosity between Public and Non-Public schools has driven the desire for realignment with state powers Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep both housed in the current Region 2.

Under the new proposals, Non-Public schools would move south to north, while Public schools would go north to south. A system using a school's northing number and an average of its power points totals from the past five seasons will be used to construct the regions for one proposal. The second would use just the northing numbers -- like in other sports -- which would make a dramatic changes. One potential problem using this method is that it would create a rugged region comprised of some teams in what is known in circles as the "78 Corridor," where powers Phillipsburg, Bound Brook, South Plainfield and others, all near Route 78, would wind up in the same region.

In Region 5, which now includes Delaware Valley, Hunterdon Central, North Hunterdon and Voorhees, all of the Mercer County schools could potentially move there.

Needless to say, a radical realignment won't be welcomed by a lot of coaches and fans. Another sticking point with coaches is the lack of information that's being shared. Most in this area were unaware that a vote was even scheduled to take place. One source said that the NJSIAA is pushing for realignment to take place for the 2016-17 season, despite schedules already being made and the likely need for new district and region representatives.

"It would be nice to be able to see things up front," Newton coach Eric Bollette said. "It seems like the coaches don't have much say in it. It will be interesting to see where we all fall."

Taking Phillipsburg, which by far brings the most fans to Wallkill Valley, out of Region 1 would be a major hit from a competition and monetary standpoint. The biggest thing that has kept that region at Wallkill, besides it is a fantastic host, is that it sends the largest gate check of any region to the NJSIAA each year. But without that gate and the fact Wallkill Valley can only fit two mats, there would be a tremendous chance of Region 1 heading elsewhere for the first time since 1983, presumably to Mount Olive, if the Morris County school stays in Region 1.

There is also the potential for several new schools hosting the district tournaments once the region alignment is finalized. However, the move to send the top four qualifiers from each region to the state tournament and the expansion of the sectional tournaments from six to eight teams will indeed apply to the 2016-17 season, according to sources.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wrestling: 'Liners-Streaks set for Pin Cancer clash

The fifth annual Pin Cancer match between Washington and Phillipsburg will be held on Thursday at Warren Hills School District Stadium. There will be approximately 10-12 junior high bouts starting at 6 p.m., with the high school match to follow.

Phillipsburg defeated Warren Hills, 42-14, when the teams met during the 2015-16 high school season at The Pit.

Phillipsburg won the four previous Pin Cancer matches, including a 40-24 victory last year at Maloney Stadium.

This year's event will feature three New Jersey state qualifiers in Washington's Cody Harrison (125) and Phillipsburg's Brian Meyer (155) and Robert Melise (220). A third qualifier, Washington's Jarod Ostir, will not compete due to injury.

Harrison (22-8) won a District 1 title and finished third in Region 1 last season at 106 pounds as a freshman. Ostir (16-9), who missed some time last season with an ankle injury, was a district champion and placed third in the region at 170 as a sophomore.

Meyer (33-10), who finished fourth in the Cadet National Freestyles at Fargo, N.D., won the district and region titles at 145 pounds, while Melise (40-3) captured the District 1 and Region 1 championships at 220. Melise, who will enter his senior season at 83-18 overall, finished second in the state tournament as a junior after placing fifth as a sophomore.

Ticket price is $5. All proceeds go to cancer research and development. Check out for more information on this tremendous organization.

Tentative matchups are listed below with Phillipsburg listed first.

105 -- Cullen Day vs. Greg Slivka
112 -- Travis Jones vs. Logan Nauta
119 -- Tyris Manley vs. Kyle Wulff
125 -- Brenden Fox vs. Cody Harrison
130 -- Kyle Tino vs. Codey O'Rourke or Geir Nemeth
135 -- Josh Ramos vs. Matt Valli or Chris Ostir
140 -- Lance Wissing vs. Cameron Nauta
147 -- Jayson Zinsmeister vs. Zach Nauta or Kyle Henderson
155 -- Brian Meyer vs. Rashon Wade Taylor
167 -- Shamyr Brodders vs. Paul Turnbull
177 -- Austin Roth vs. TBA
190 -- Drew Horun vs. Nick Galka
220 -- Robert Melise vs. Brody Oberly
285 -- Justen Caraballo vs. Taylan Zafis

(Box from last season's high school dual)


152 -- Chris Ruiz, P, p. Rashon Wade Taylor 1:51.
160 -- D.J. Wissing, P, p. Anthony Roessner, 1:18.
170 -- Jarod Ostir, WH, md. Austin Roth, 10-1.
182 -- Jason Barna, P, d. Nick Galka, 6-5.
195 -- Dan Fisher, P, d Kurt Nemeth, 4-1.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, p. Brody Oberly, :55.
285 -- Kyle Nothnagel, P, d. Taylan Zafis, 4-1.
106 -- Cody Harrison, WH, d. Cullen Day, 5-2.
113 -- Kyle Markus, P, md. Kyle Wulff, 11-0.
120 -- Tom Kosar, P, d. Codey O'Rourke, 6-1.
126 -- Matt Valli, WH, md. Kyle Tino, 15-6.
132 -- Lance Wissing, P, d. Pedro Cruz, 7-6.
138 -- Zach Nauta, WH, d. Tyler Agans, 7-4.
145 -- Brian Meyer, P, tf. Cameron Nauta, 18-3, 4:15.

(2015 Pin Cancer results)


107 -- Cody Harrison, W, md. Cullen Day, 13-5.
115 -- Tom Kosar, P, d. Kyle Wulff, 8-1.
123 -- Kyle Markus, P, d. Codey O'Rourke, 3-0.
130 -- Lance Wissing, P, p. Pedro Cruz, 2:03.
135 -- Matt Valli, W, tf. Kyle Tino, 17-2, 3:46.
140 -- Tyler Agans, P, p. Cameron Nauta, 2:25.
145 -- Brian Meyer, P, d. Zach Nauta, 3-2.
154 -- Chris Ruiz, P, p. Brandon Winger, 3:38.
162 -- Jarod Ostir, W, d. DJ Wissing, 5-1.
173 -- Anthony Roessner, W, p. Austin Roth, 1:38.
185 -- Nick Galka, W, p. Mario Higueros, 3:33.
197 -- Drew Horun, P, md. Brody Oberly, 11-2.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, d. Kurt Nemeth, 6-1.
285 -- Kyle Nothnagel, P, p. Taylan Zafis, 2:46.